Nepal Army Headquarters in Bhadrakali, Kathmandu. (File photo)
KATHMANDU: The Nepali Army (NA) has been entrusted with the responsibility for construction of prioritized road projects, including the national pride projects, in geographically challenging areas.
The Army has accordingly forwarded activities in this regard. The NA got this responsibility in view of its high-level work efficiency.
Article 267 of the Constitution of Nepal has mentioned that NA could be involved in development construction and disaster management activities along with national security.
The Army has got the responsibility to construct different road section of Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhes fast-track, Karnali corridor, Mahakali corridor and Koshi corridor and construction of these projects has been expedited.
There is a pressure to complete all prioritized projects soon. Of them, national-pride project –Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhes fast-track is the most important project, the shortest route to connect Tarai with Kathmandu. But the project has not able to make expected progress in this project.
Joint-Secretary at the Defense Ministry, Baburam Adhikari, said that procurement process has been halted due to problems seen in course of land acquisition of Khokana.
During the meeting of Defense ministry-level development problems solving committee held on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had paid more concern in the construction of the fast-track.
Prime Minister Deuba had drawn attention of the bodies concerned on the need of completing the construction of the expressway at the earliest.
Defence Secretary Kiran Raj Sharma shared that 61.97 percent of capital and 65.05 percent physical progress was achieved in the fiscal year 2021/22 while analyzing the integrated form of the Ministry and subordinate bodies.
In course of the implementation of the Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhesh Fast Track, the land acquisition issue at Khokana has become complicated thus affecting the project.
Likewise, the physical infrastructure construction program of the National Defense University could not be endorsed as a multi-year project.
According to the Ministry of Defese, the expected progress remained unmet as the budget allocated for arms and equipment procurement went unspent due to an increasing pressure on the forex reserve.
In the meeting, Chief of Army Staff, Prabhu Ram Sharma said, however, efforts continued to complete the assigned projects within the deadline.
Lack of approach roads, excessive cold, vulnerable zones and topological issues have posed challenges in the implementation of some projects, according to the army chief.
He expressed his doubts over the timely completion of the Karnali Corridor as the construction team has to deal with a giant rock during its implementation. It is said the progress in regard with the projects handled by the NA is so far positive.
The physical progress in regard with the Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhesh Fast Track is 21-18 percent followed by 19.58 percent physical progress. The implementation of the project goes in various 11 packages and each package reports different progress rates.
Its detailed project report was endorsed on August 18, 2019, and the 72.5-kilometer project shares a tunnel at three locations and the total length of the structures is 6.41 kilometers. The total cost of the project is Rs 175 billion.
In the current fiscal year, Rs 30 billion has been allocated for it and the take-off point of the project starts from Khorana of Lalitpur and ends at Nijgadh of Bara.
The project is required to acquire a total of 5,172 ropani (one ropani equivalent to 508.72 square meter) of land so for compensation for 4,745 ropani of land has been distributed.
As per a decision of the Council of Ministers made in mid-October last year, the Nepali Army has been given the responsibility of constructing the seven kilometres section from Lalibagar to Dullikuna and the 13 kilometers section from Badrigaon to Bhukka Khola, Ghatpari along the Karnali River.
The Army has been assigned the responsibility of constructing a total 22 kilometers of the Karnali Corridor highway. The financial progress of the road construction works assigned to the Army in the fiscal year 2021/22 is reported to be 89.72 and the physical progress is 100 percent.
The Nepali Army has got the responsibility for constructing 10.51 kilometers section of the Koshi Corridor highway from Khandbari-Kimathanka. The Army started construction of this highway on February 6, 2021. Its responsibility was to open three kilometers track last year.
The financial progress of this project is 85.35 percent and the physical progress 100 percent. It is said transportation of the construction materials and equipment has been difficult as the flood in the Barun Khola in the region washed away the culvert.
The Army was given the responsibility of constructing 92 kilometers road under the Koshi Corridor highway.
Benighat Arughat Larke Bhanjyang road
The Army has constructed 32.5 kilometers of road and three camps under the Benighat Arughat Larke Bhanjyang road until fiscal year 2021/22. Out of this length, 18 kilometres road has already been handed over to the Department of Roads.
The Army was given the responsibility of constructing this road in 2016. The fiscal progress of this road is 87.39 and the physical progress 100 percent for the current fiscal year.
It is said problem has been faced as the report of environmental impact assessment of the Manaslu area has not been received yet.
The Army has been assigned the responsibility of constructing 79 kilometers of the Mahakali Corridor highway. The Army got the responsibility of constructing 75 kilometers road from Kothedhar-Tinkar section as per the decision of the Council of Ministers on January 31, 2022, and of building four kilometers section of the road from Tusharpani to Kothedhar as per a Cabinet decision on January 31, 2022.
It is stated that the fiscal progress of the Darchula-Tinkar road is 91.54 percent and physical progress 99 percent.